TOPEKA — There was nothing left to be said, so Bishop Carroll girls coach Don Racine dismissed his players back on the court well before the fourth quarter was to begin.
What can you say when open shots that have fallen all season suddenly stop dropping in the quarterfinals of the Class 5A tournament?
Carroll suffered through an 18.9- percent shooting night (10 of 53), and players could do little beside shake their heads during a 59-30 loss to Shawnee Heights on Wednesday night at the Kansas Expocentre.
"When we don't make a basket, it's pretty tough to play defense," Racine said. "If we can't press, then we can't do anything else. They tried hard, but some nights are bad and tonight wasn't very good."
Carroll could never bottle up momentum. When a rare basket did go down in the first half, the Eagles' defense allowed Shawnee Heights to negate it at the other end.
Once Shawnee Heights took its first double-digit lead, at 20-9 in the second quarter, Carroll never looked comfortable again.
"I do think it was just one of those nights for them," Shawnee Heights coach Robert Wells said. "I know they've got some kids that can really shoot the ball. Our kids knew that and I think we did a good job defending the perimeter. But even when Carroll was getting the ball inside, they had tough luck inside, too."
But when wide-open shot after wide-open shot clanged off the rim, there was nothing Racine could tell his players. It was indeed one of those days and came at the worst time for Carroll (16-7).
With one stretch of consecutive baskets in the game, Carroll was without its greatest strength — its press. The Eagles forced 15 turnovers, but scored nine points from them.
"That was huge for us," Wells said. "I've known Coach Racine for years and I know how fundamentally sound his kids are going to be with that press. It was crucial for us to not allow them to get in it."
Catherine Brugman, with 13 points, had the best game for Carroll, but even that came on 4-of-10 shooting. The other four starters combined for 5-of-28 shooting.
"We lost to a good team," Racine said. "We just didn't make a basket."
Blue Valley 59, Andover 32 — Andover coach Max Hamblin made sure his team appreciated the experience of playing in Topeka's Expocentre. The Trojans hadn't played there since 1998, so Hamblin wanted his girls to relish the opportunity.
Then the game started and before Andover could catch its breath, it trailed 16-3.
"We were a little overmatched," Hamblin said. "We would have had to play exceptionally well to even stay close to that team."
The circumstances became even more difficult when starting point guard Catherine Cranmer left the game early in the second quarter with a right ankle sprain. She did not return and finished with four points in seven minutes.
"She's one of our best penetrators," Hamblin said. "The offensive stuff we do is really geared towards penetrating and being able to kick out and that hurt us because we didn't have that."
Blue Valley led 28-14 at halftime and didn't let up, using 58.8-percent shooting the second half to crush any Andover comeback attempt.
Taylor Tilson scored nine and Audrey Meisch added seven for Andover (16-7).
"It was a great season for us," Hamblin said. "We needed to get this experience and let everybody be apart of this and see what it's all about. We've come a long way."
McPherson 52, Emporia 32 — Casyn Buchman was a member of McPherson's 2008 state championship team. But that was as a freshman, so Buchman wants one she can call her own.
Buchman looked ready for the challenge against Emporia, draining five three-pointers in the game's first 13 minutes and scoring 18 of McPherson's 24 points in the first half.
"This is her last go-around," McPherson coach Chris Strathman said. "I knew she would be ready. If she hadn't done that in the first half, we could have really been in trouble."
Emporia closed to within 38-32 with five minutes remaining. The Bullpups closed the game on a 14-0 run, including a 10-for-12 performance at the line. Buchman finished with 28 points.
"When the game gets tight, we gather our composure and knock down our free throws," Buchman said. "It's something we've been doing pretty well all year."